Over the last year, you’ve probably heard the buzz around the National Board for Certified Health and Wellness Coaching, or NBHWC. Things are changing in our field. This credential will open up new opportunities for coaches and increase the visibility and recognition of our field. We’re going to talk about exactly what NBHWC is, why it’s so important, and what it looks like for Functional Medicine Coaching Academy grads to sit for the exam.
What is NBHWC?
NBHWC, The National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching, is a board of thought-leaders as well as over 50 health & wellness coach training and education programs. NBHWC joined forces with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), which develops and administers physician licensing examinations in the United States to establish standards for health and wellness coach training and education programs and a coach certification exam.
They have introduced the first-ever board-certification exam for health and wellness coaches, the Health and Wellness Coach Certifying Examination (HWCCE). Those who pass this half-day on-site exam designed by coaching experts to identify a select group for board certification earn the credential “NBC-HWC”: National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach.
Why does the field of Health & Wellness Coaching need this standard?
The field of health & wellness coaching emerged in response to the global need for more hands-on support for patients with chronic illness undergoing lifestyle interventions. While the profession has grown, so has variability in the standards of health & wellness coaches. As a result, the profession remains largely undefined and unregulated. NBHWC was formed to address the need for consistent standards for this new profession. With this recognized national stamp of approval, your FMCHC, NBH-HWC certificates will give you instant credibility in the eyes of the industry, clients, and employers – opening up the door for more job opportunities.
What does it look like to sit for the NBHWC Exam?
At The Functional Medicine Coaching Academy, we want to ensure you are prepared and set up for success! Holly Ladd, FMCA Alumni and now Senior Course Facilitator, shares her NBHWC experience – why she decided to sit for the board and how she prepared:
“Once I learned there would be a National Board exam for Health Coaches, I knew I wanted to take it. I was delighted that FMCA was an accepted program so that I didn’t have to take any supplemental courses to have the requisites. I felt that having a national certification would legitimize the work that I do and the profession in general, so I wanted to be counted. I found that my FMCA experience prepared me well for the exam. While I did study using the study guide provided by NBHWC (ICHWC at the time), as I was covering information in books that were not included in the FMCA curriculum, I realized I knew this information already. Thankfully I don’t have a problem with standardized tests, so I navigated the test and felt really good about it upon finishing. I got my board certification in November 2017 in the first group, which I was very proud of.
Since then, it was very useful when I talked to the doctor that I currently coach for who was looking for an FMCA trained coach with experience. When I told him I was also ‘board-certified,’ he really appreciated that and felt it gave me more gravitas as a coach with clients.”
Whether you decide to sit for the boards or not, you will have the confidence in the gold standard in a Health Coaching program designed and delivered in collaboration with The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM.)
About Holly Ladd, FMCHC, NBC-HWC
Holly entered the field of health coaching after her battle with scleroderma, an autoimmune condition. As part of her path to recovery, she sought out a Functional Medicine doctor, embracing their “root cause” approach to disease. Through that process, she learned just how out of balance her body was and worked her way back to wellness with adjustments to her diet and lifestyle and some targeted supplementation.
Holly serves as a Senior Course Facilitator at the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy, working with students developing their coaching skills. She was one of the first nationally board-certified health and wellness coaches, receiving her certification in November 2017. She lives a full and rich symptom-free life, grateful to have overcome such a scary diagnosis. Holly enjoys cycling, working out, meditation, travel, reading, introducing her friends to healthy foods, an occasional glass of good wine, and walking with her two dogs.